Catchin' up - the contemporaries.




4 stars - If I thought I could write a decent full review for this, I would have. I had a lot of feels for it - mostly good, which was really baffling to me because how can I justify a love story that starts with an inmate, a prisoner convicted of a violent crime?


“I never met anybody from South Carolina.” His voice was deep and resonant, and it required no volume to command my attention. He spoke with a tone that was threat, coercion, seduction, lament. All at once. I never met anybody from South Carolina. The way he said it, anything could have come next. I never met anybody from South Carolina . . . . . . but I love bluegrass. . . . but I stabbed a man to death in Tennessee. . . . but I hear the girls there taste like peaches."


This book is what set Cara McKenna in my 'favorite author' concrete.  It's edgy and different and hooks you emotionally. It's also a spectacular love story showcasing very blue collar (and below blue collar honestly) life. In a genre where the trend is to make everyone enormously rich, perfect, beautiful, talented and educated, McKenna penned a story that is interesting and dirty in the exact opposite of all of that.


Some of my reservations was that this book would almost entirely take place in prison. This is not the case. It's only about 2 weeks in prison and then several months after. A great read. 



4 stars - I think Play is a New Adult title, which is sad because I'm going to be kicked out of the New Adult Haters club once they see I enjoyed this. It's pretty unbelievable (they're all rock stars, so you know, rich and famous and gorgeous!), and there wasn't a lot of deep moments (none actually, though there is a series subject or two), but it was funny. Mal steals the show with his zany antics - he's worth the read alone. He sort of tricks Anne into a sudden acquaintance and then accidental love happens - makes for a nice breezy read.




4  stars - This ambushed me. First it was typical. Then I thought maybe a little more amusing than typical. Then a little more hot than typical. THEN BOOM, I'm in sudden tears.

A great easy chick lit read with hot lovin' and hot suits. 



4 stars - We've established that I think Cara McKenna kills it and this book did not disappoint and is a great follow up to Lay it Down which DID disappoint (more on that later). Nothing hooks me more than getting to the nitty-gritty of why characters tick and there was nitty-gritty here in spades. Between Raina's inability to commit (or see herself as stable relationship material) coupled with her bad-girl, eff-off attitude and Duncan's pretentious, OCD structured life AND a crime that needs to be solved for his reputation's sake, this was a pretty wild ride from the get go.



   actually, 3.5 stars - I skipped the first book in this "Rock Kiss" series due to reviews, so I was surprised that this is actually not about a musician or band or any of that ilk. Misleading title, no? This is really about a retired sport star turned business guru and a smart, but shy and beaten by abuse, woman who does, basically, clerical work for a company he takes over. She's promoted pretty quickly from file girl to CEO's personal assistant. Whatever. The chapter titles are cute and the Mouse vs. T-Rex quip battles are entertaining.


The drama goes a little long for my taste however, but can be attributed to the balancing act of not simply dismissing some series issues on behalf of the heroine.



3 stars - I ended up reading this because I wanted to encourage a friend to do more buddy reading with me...and this was her pick. Another NA, but this one was more along the lines of why I steer clear of that label. This would have been closer to the 1.5 or 2 star read but the ending really lit me up. I've read the reformed bad boy story before, but I just didn't buy it because I thought Drew was a pig. I think the love of a good woman heals all ills is really not for me.


But in the end, Drew's monologue about making life the best you can was a winner for me and sort of sugar coated his piggy-ness.



3 stars - I read Reisz's The Siren in the all-nighter, hungover in the morning fashion and loved it. But also hated it. I really hesitate every time I think to reach for the sequel, so I thought I'd try one of the short prequels first.


While some of the great writing I experienced in my first go around with Reisz existed here, overall I can't get a feeling of unease off of me. I'm not sure there's an HEA to be had here. And I'm not sure that the characters in her books represent a brand of 'happy' that really fits me.


Undecided if I'm going to continue with her Original Sinners series.



  3 stars - This is exactly what you'd expect it to be. Early Evanovich, pre-Plum, where she is really working out some signature aspects of her writing that will make her the best-selling author that she is today. Sometimes you need something predictable, and that's what I wanted when I picked this up. Wacky, silly fluff - enjoyable for a Sunday afternoon at the park while watching the kids play.


(I feel the need to add that I'm watching my kids play - not random kids. Thanks)



2 stars - Ugh. I hated to feel so disappointed in this because I really do love all Cara's books, but I think that was my personal problem with this book. I expected more emotional depth, more even development, and I was NOT expecting the far-fetched 'suspense' portion with a murder that basically goes unresolved in this book. I understood later that it will play a part in each subsequent book, but it was a really funky way to leave off.